A judge has upheld a US$30m fine against eBay for patent infringement. The move is the latest in eBay’s long-running legal battle with MercExchange, who claim to have invented Buy It Now. Back in 2003, a jury found in favour of ME and awarded them $35m in damages; eBay contested this and the award was reduced to $25m. With interest in the intervening period, this has now increased to $30m, but the case isn’t over yet: “we are disappointed with the court’s order and we plan to appeal it”, eBay said in a statement yesterday.
MercExchange have been trying for an injunction to stop eBay using Buy It Now altogether, presumably so that they could then license their “invention” back to eBay: a judge has previously said that ME have used their patents “as a sword to extract money”.